Photo courtesy Benjamin Moore Image by: Photo courtesy Benjamin Moore
Shoes, so many shoes
"Limit the number of pairs per person to be stored in the communal storage spaces, such as the front hall and closet," says Stephanie Deacon, president of the Professional Organizers of Canada (POC). "When shoes and sandals start appearing in the hall, put the boots away in bedroom closets or basement storage," she says. Shoe shelves are an easy way for adults and small children to keep footwear tidy, while open bins or baskets seem to work better for teens. Or encourage the kids to keep the hall closet neat by creating footwear parking. "Mark out the spaces on the shoe shelf with coloured tape—like parking spots," says Deacon.
Beyond the rack
Most hall closets are simple rail-and-one-shelf designs. Marie Potter, director marketing for the POC, says hooks are one of the fastest ways to get kids to hang their coats and backpacks. "Consider framing your child’s name or a quote in a funky coloured font and hang it above their space," she adds. Adding lighting to the closet can also help make it easier for kids to see exactly where everything needs to go.
Storing sports gear
Is your front hall closet also the home of all your family’s athletic equipment? Consider a laundry bin, if there is room on the closet floor, or large mesh bags hung from hooks to keep everything in its place, suggests Deacon. Better yet, find a home for the gear in an infrequently used closet or basement. "Be sure to add some visible reminder on or near the front door, like a chalkboard or whiteboard, so the gear doesn't get forgotten," says Deacon.
Move the paper trail
One thing you can count on all year long is a constant stream of school-related notices, permission forms, etc. Make sure yours don't languish in bags or get lost in the front hall shuffle by establishing an administration station in the kitchen. "Keep it simple; get two file folders and label one 'keep' and the other 'process,' says Potter. "'Keep' is for semipermanent papers, like the school calendar and class list, while 'process' is for papers that will require action like permission forms or party invites. Have a calendar above it to immediately note an event so nothing slips through the cracks, or add them to your digital shared family calendar."
Do the kids need a little help getting organized? Download these morning and afternoon routine flash cards to make mornings a little easier.